IOM DG Addresses 21st Regional Conference on Migration in the Americas

Honduras - Representatives from 10 Central and North American countries met last week in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, for the 21st gathering of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM). Shared responsibility in migration management was the thematic focus of the meeting, which was attended by IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

Ambassador Swing highlighted how, while IOM and other humanitarian organizations are working to support thousands of displaced people fleeing Mosul or Syria, "many countries have closed-doors policies, trying to get people to go another way, rather than come to them."

“If you know something about demographic imbalances, that you have a global north in need of workers, a global south in need of jobs, you have to assume that all of our societies are going to become more multiethnic, multicultural, and multi-religious. And if we are not preparing our people for that, we are not fulfilling our responsibility. That is a shared responsibility,” said DG Swing.

The final declaration of the summit recognizes that the adequate management of migration is a commitment of all countries in the region and that no country can overcome the challenges posed by migration management on its own, regardless of whether it is a country of origin, transit or destination.

The RCM countries also agreed to continue promoting safe, regular, and orderly migration within the region‎, and formally expressed their concern in the face of xenophobic attitudes towards migrants that have emerged on a global basis. Countries agreed to take measures to fight these postures, as well as to highlight the many benefits that orderly migration brings.

Governments represented at the meeting also stated their support for IOM to play a key role in the negotiation of a Global Compact on Migration scheduled to be adopted by the 2018, given its mandate and expertise as the UN migration agency.

High level representatives from UNHCR, ILO, UNICEF, ICRC, as well as civil organizations, also attended the meeting, which ended with the Honduran government handling over the pro tempore presidency to El Salvador. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, Liduvina Magarín, announced that the priority of the RCM during the next year will be the migrant women, with a comprehensive and inter-institutional focus.

For further information please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central, North America and the Caribbean, Tel. +506. 2212-5300, Email